10 January, 2014

Warmth at Dawn

Well, the "warmth at dawn" certainly isn't coming from the sun. This session took place before the sunrise, in the grip of the cold English winter. It rained for many days, reducing our already-dark little Northerly country into the kind of blackness that you might imagine on a moon of Neptune.

The warmth came, instead, from a rather decent shupu that came from Peter of Pu-erh.sk.

Menghai, for it is they, produced this dense little chap: it is the "7262" cake.  You may or may not be able to squint your eyes sufficiently to determine that the leaves in the above photograph are dark, separated, and rather well-treated (for shupu).

Good shupu should be soft, in my opinion.  I like a good, rounded edge and I prefer some backbone.  It turns out that this cake, from the people who invented shupu, is really rather delicate - which is quite a surprise.  It is so delicate, in fact, that I could easily imagine Essence of Tea selling it.

Peter sells this cake for a sizeable 73 Eurounits, which is quite Big Money for a shupu cake.  For comparison, my eternal nubile and delicious 2003 Fuhai 7576 was 37 Americanbux.  You've got to be careful with the pricing of shupu.

That is not to say that this Menghai 7262 is in any way bad - it is made by the greatest single collection of shupumongers in the world, after all - but it does not, in my opinion, compare in price to more affordable shupu cakes.

Later, the Menghai 7262 continues to impress, with its stability and tangy, mild kuwei [good bitterness] in the finish.  Menghai can make shupu without killing it, which is half the battle.  A cooling sensation fills the throat and nose, which is also rather unusual for "cooked" tea.  Its flavour is not forthcoming, but its texture, cleanliness, and cooling quality make up for that.  "It is exceedingly drinkable", I have managed to scrawl in my journal.

By the tenth infusion, though the dark-red ruby colour and silky thickness are unchanged from earlier infusions, the character has become somewhat "loose" and watery.  Menghai knows that its doing - it'd be a snip at a slightly lower price, I think.

I'm currently writing from Brunei, where the notion of drinking shupu would be rather welcome.  Actually, any good tea would be rather welcome...

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